Even Roses Have Thorns, chapter eight
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Kaylee deals with the reprecussions of her tantrum. Some fluff, finally. Rated G.


Chapter Eight: Etiam capillus unus habet umbram (even one hair has a shadow)

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The first two chapters are here: three and four are here:, five is here:, six is here:, and seven is here:

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When Jayne walked through the cargo bay, he was a mite confused as to why Kaylee was scrubbing down the steps.

“Ah, Kaylee, doncha got nothin’ better to be doin’?”

Kaylee looked up, embarrassed. They would all know eventually, of course. It was going to take her *days* to finish everything Zoë had told her to do. “Zoë’s makin’ me do it.”


“Fight with Simon.”

“So what’s the doc cleanin’?”

“He ain’t.”

“Oh.” Meaning, this was Kaylee’s fault. Jayne was mystified, but thought better of saying anything about that. “Mal always gives me septic vac,” he offered sympathetically.

“Captain’s prerogative, Jayne.” Zoë’s voice came from the walkway. “Best you don’t disturb her, she’s got plenty to do.” Zoë walked off.

Jayne waited until Zoë was out of earshot. “Gotta clean the whole cargo bay, huh?”

“Yeah.” She looked up again, and Jayne wasn’t sure that her face wasn’t a little tear streaked. “Plus wash all the common floors and dust everywhere, and clean the whole kitchen, ‘cluding the walls and the cupboards and everything in the cupboards, before I get my free time back. Whatever I do first’s sure to be filthy again before I finish. I’ll never be done.”

“I’m sorry Kaylee. I’ll uh, try to uh keep ma boots clean.” She looked miserable, and started back scrubbing. Jayne, with nothing more coming to mind to say, walked off.


When Zoë walked into the dining area a while later, she was surprised at what she saw, but she made her voice very casual. “Jayne, you wouldn’t be cleaning the kitchen, would you?”

Jayne waved a damp sponge in Zoë’s direction. “Can’t clean ma guns in here Zoë, there’s all that flour from breakfast might get in the workin’s.”

“Jayne, you’re washing the walls.”

“Needs it.”

“It does.” She paused. “This wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with the conversation you were having with Kaylee, earlier, would it?”

“No Zoë, why would Kaylee care about ma guns?” Zoë slowly made a cup of tea in silence and sat at the table drinking it. Jayne continued to scrub, looking over at where Zoë was sitting occasionally. When she was finished, she stood and again, slowly, left. Jayne watched carefully and was just about to call ‘she’s gone’, when the pantry door slid open and River stepped out. “Ya should have hid in the cupboard.”

“I wouldn’t have fit in the cupboard.” She picked her sponge out of Jayne’s bucket and set back to work. “Don’t tell Simon, okay?”

Jayne looked down at the girl, puzzled. “Why? Was yer idea.”

River gave him one of her ‘it’s obvious’ looks. “Because I’m on *his* side, of course.” She looked at the bucket. “It’s time to change the water again.”

Jayne nodded. “This place really is filthy.”


Just as she was about to fall asleep, River heard her door slide open – just a crack. Simon stepped in and quietly shut it again, and put his finger to his lips. He waited until he was right next to her before he spoke. “Mei-mei, I need a favour, please?” She already knew what he was going to say, and rolled her eyes in the dark. “Come to the kitchen with me where we can talk.”

“We can talk right here, Simon.”

“We might disturb Zoë.”

“Okay.” She slid out from under the covers, and the two Tam siblings padded silently on cold, bare feet to the kitchen. Simon remarked, “Hey! It’s not too bad in here – do you think Kaylee already got to it?”

“I suppose. Did she tell you?”

“No. She looked miserable in the first aid class, so I asked her afterwards, but she still wouldn’t talk to me. Jayne told me. I feel terrible.”

“For fighting with her?”

“I just feel like this is, you know, a little bit my fault too.”

“But you know it isn’t, right?”

“Yeah.” Simon sighed. “Let’s check the lounge area.”

As they walked, River asked. “Simon, you’re not suggesting we clean the lounge for her, are you?”

Simon looked a little guilty in the dim lighting. “Well, I was hoping you’d help, as a favour to me.”

“We might get caught by Zoë or Mal.”

“I was planning on telling them that I had insomnia.”

“So you decided to clean the lounge?”

“Uh, yeah. Come on, they already think I’m obsessive compulsive!”

River looked at him sideways. “That’s because you are, Simon.” She yawned. “What about me?”

“You could hide.” River suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. He didn’t know.

Simon misinterpreted the look, and amended his last statement mildly. “You could go back to bed if you want, of course. It’s just, you know, Kaylee’s our friend.”

“She’s being mean, Simon.”

“Very astute, little genius. But she’s been our friend since the moment we got here, and one day doesn’t change that. You’ve been bratty for years.”

River contemplated this. “True. But she’s not your little sister.”

“Thank heaven. One is plenty.”

“You don’t think, though, that Zoë might have had a point?”

“As long as Kaylee thinks she’s been punished, what harm is there? It’s the same thing, psychologically.”

She knew he would say it, but still, having him utter it aloud was weird. It was like – admitting it. “You have issues, Simon.” River said finally.

“You know, I’ve spent the last three years hiding, law breaking, terrified for myself and my sister. I’ve spent nine months as a fugitive, and eight months of those trying to repair my sister’s damaged health – without marked success I might add. A month ago, two of our only friends in the ‘verse were brutally killed. The girl I love thinks that I think that she’s… a bad girl. As a doctor, every wound I see is on someone I personally live with, which is kind of the opposite of what’s supposed to happen. All things considered… I’m really pretty okay, River.”

River nodded. “I’ll go get a bucket and some sponges.”


On the bridge, the Captain asked, “Do you think Kaylee looked a little bleary eyed at breakfast?”

“Probably cried herself to sleep, Sir,” his first mate answered.

“Do you think she slept? She’s getting through the chores you gave her mighty fast.”

“Oh, I’m sure *she* slept, Sir.”

Mal turned and frowned at her. “Zoë, you’re not suggesting…”

Zoë turned a wry look on the Captain. “Sir, you recall boot camp?”

“Aiya. You think?”

“Well, yesterday I walked in on Jayne scrubbing the kitchen walls. The way he was staring at me, waiting for me to go, I think there was someone in there helping him.”

“Simon? Inara maybe?”

“No – Inara wouldn’t have hid, she’s brazen, like Jayne. I’m guessing Simon.”

“That is… very Simon. How’d he talk Jayne into it though?”

“Oh, Jayne’s always been sweet on Kaylee. Also, point of interest, he saw her moping while she was moppin’ in the cargo bay. Looked all manner of sorry for herself.”

“But Simon and Jayne?”

Zoë shrugged. “Seem to be getting on alright since Miranda.”

“You think we should stop them, let them know it’s Kaylee’s to be doing?”

“No. Unit cohesion, Sir.”

Mal suggested, “And just maybe make Kaylee think a little before running her mouth off again at her friends?”

“Wouldn’t know about that, Sir.”

Mal turned back to the controls. “’Course you wouldn’t, Zoë.”


Wednesday, December 20, 2006 1:59 AM


Thank you all, once again, to those who have commented - it really is appreciated!

Like I said in my 'blurb' I hope to get chapter nine up as well today. I hope posting more than once a day is okay... once I'm done it's hard to resist the lure of the submit button.

Anyway, just a little fluff to break up the angst.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:28 AM


This is absolutely sweet and fluffy - that the whole crew is pitching in to help Kaylee, even Simon who she unfairly yelled at.

I think that Kaylee was way out of line to say those things to Simon, but I think it shows Simon's character that he is still willing to try and help her out. Really sweet!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:17 AM


Liked Simon's conversation with River. A little smart ass in there and that's just how I like Simon :)

Kaylee needs to talk and really listen to Simon, though. I hope that's coming soonish!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:22 AM


Jayne is awesome. Offer to help? Nope. "I'll try to keep my boots clean." Gee, thanks, Jayne! Good on River for roping him in to clean the kitchen - half of it's probably his mess, anyway.

Simon seems to have got the backbone firmly installed, finally. Now he's giving River a piece of his mind too, when he feels the need. I like him being a bit more coherent and sure of himself: he's really very smart and capable, and it's time for him to work with that.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 2:47 PM


Yep...this was the right place and time for some fluff. Wasn't pure fluff, as Kaylee was close to uncontrollable sobbing fits a couple of times...but I do gotta give ya credit for getting Jayne, Simon and River in on helping her out. I get the feeling that if Kaylee was punished much (if at all) when she was younger, she was River-like in getting out of it;)



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